Minneapolis schools will be spending an extra $15,000 to send property taxpayers a special mailing after missing a Hennepin County deadline for inserting the same information in annual truth-in-taxation statements.
The extra cost comes because of a snafu in which the county addressed a letter to a former school district finance official and it arrived just as the district was moving to a new headquarters. The July 24 letter went to former Chief Financial Officer Peggy Ingison, who left the job almost a year earlier, rather than successor Robert Doty.
The letter advised the district that it needed to notify the county by Sept. 30 of the date, time and place of the state-required annual hearing on its proposed 2013 levy. Scott Loomer, the county's property tax manager, said he contacted the district on Sept. 20 after getting no response.
Loomer said the district didn't contact him until a month later, three weeks after the deadline, about putting in the mailing an insert explaining the property tax proposal to taxpayers. The school board has voted to set a 4 percent ceiling on next year's increase, which is to be adopted in December.
So the district elected to send its own mailing for $25,000, incurring additional printing and mailing charges. Subtracting the roughly $10,000 it would have cost the district to put its insert into the county mailing, the net extra cost of the four-language color mailing is $15,000. That's atop the roughly $22,000 shared cost to the district of printing the basic notice, which is separate from the explanation inserted by the taxing jurisdictions.
Loomer said that the notices are being mailed Tuesday.